Genre, gender, giallo: the disturbed dreams of Dario Argento

This thesis presents an examination of the giallo films of Dario Argento from his directorial debut The Bird with the Crystal Plumage to The Stendhal Syndrome'. In opposition to the dominant psychoanalytical approaches to the horror film generally and Argento's giallo specifically, this thesis argues that the giallo, both textually and meta-textually, actively resists oedipalisation. Taking up from Deleuze's contention in Cinema 1: The Movement Image that the cinematic-image can be consider the equivalent to a philosophical concept, I suggest that Argento's giallo are examples of what Deleuze calls cinema of the "time-image": provoked and extended "philosophical" acts of imagining the world which opens up a theoretical space of thinking differently about questions of gender and genre in horror film, which takes us beyond the fixed images of thought offered by traditional psychoanalytical and feminist paradigms of horror. In the opening chapters of this thesis, I argue that the cinematic-image has to be thought "historically", and that it is only be understanding the emergence of the "giallo" in the 1960s within the wider picture of Italian national cinema, that we can understand Argento's films as specific cultural expressions of thought, which are not reducible to paradigms based upon analyses of the more puritan and fixed American horror film. In my subsequent discussion of Argento's "Diva" trilogy, I consider an assemblage of Deleuzian becoming and poststructuralist feminist thought as a mechanism through which to explore the increasingly feminised and feminist spaces of his later work. This thesis concludes by assessing Argento's critical and creative legacy in films such as Toshiharu Ikeda's Evil Dead Trap and Cindy Sherman's Office Killer. In these terms, a Deleuzian "approach", enables a set of readings, which open up the texts to a more productive consideration of their appeal, in a way which other more traditional approaches do not, and cannot, account for. The close textual and historical analysis demanded by Deleuze is both a reconsideration of the [feminist] politics of Argento's work, and a response to criticisms of misogynism.
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Patricia Pisters (2011). Flashforward: The Future is Now. Deleuze Studies 5 (supplement):98-115.
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